By: Kelly M. Gross, Director
The Art Association of Jacksonville is pleased to present watercolorist Sandy Meyer to The David Strawn Art Gallery, 331 W. College Avenue Jacksonville, April 7-29th. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, April 7th from 6-8 p.m. with “Gallery Talk” by Meyer at 6:30 p.m.
Sandy Meyer currently resides in Coopersville Michigan but I personally became familiar with her extraordinary watercolors when she was a resident of Quincy, Illinois. As Gallery Director since 1991, Meyer, in my opinion, is the best watercolorists I have ever had the privilege of hanging and appreciating at The David Strawn Art Gallery.
In Meyer’s freshman year of high school, her art teacher, Sister Anthony Ann, had the students memorize a quote from John Ruskin, (the English contemporary of Henry David Thoreau). Meyers says: “The teacher explained what Ruskin was saying to us, is that as an artist, we’re not painting objects, people or scenes. We are painting shapes and colors in relation to one another. All objects, even people, are composed of nothing more than simple shapes that are all put together to form the subject. If you focus on the shapes you see you can paint a leaf, a tree, a face, whatever you see before you.”
Meyer has spent almost all her life in Illinois and much of her recent life residing in log cabins, which has had both a direct and an indirect effect on her art. The artist says she needs to feel attached to a place and to the land before she can invest emotional content in her work.
A typical example of such a connection is her watercolor “Red Squares No. 5” which is a painting featuring the quilt pattern called ‘log cabin,’ Meyer explains “It was the first quilt that I ever made. At the time we were living in a log cabin that had been built in 1836, so it seemed appropriate to have a log-cabin quilt on the bed. In the log-cabin pattern, the center block is always red, representing the fireplace–the heart of the cabin. I carefully arranged the quilt on the floor of my studio so that the layers were visible. The white areas of the painted quilt were the most challenging parts to paint. To keep the ripples held high during the week of painting I stuffed rolled-up hand towels between the layers. Incidentally, when another painting, Log Cabin, was hanging in my booth at an art fair, I heard a gentleman say, ‘The lady who made the quilt is the real artist.’ I politely thanked him and he walked away without another word.”
Light has always been the trigger of inspiration for Meyer. In recent years this has gone deeper into how light causes colors to change. Nearly 10 years ago Meyer began keeping a journal on color, jotting down any information she could find from such disparate sources as Kandinsky, Rothko, Matisse, Hans Hoffman, Joseph Raffael, Wolf Kahn, and Josef Albers. “I couldn’t get enough of it,” says the artist. “I studied the psychology of color, the optical effect of color—and it continues to this day. I am on my third journal now, all of them packed with notes, quotes, pictures, and sketches in marker, watercolor, or crayon.” “Today, everything I paint is filtered through my color mind,” she continues. “I am always asking myself, ‘How can I make this object, landscape, or person become more alive by the colors I use? ‘“
Meyer’s goal is always to create a sense of peace and joy when she paints. She says “As you look at the paintings in the exhibit, I hope you will be able to sense intimacy, peacefulness, and quietude. That’s what I’m after.”
Meyer is a signature member of the Watercolor USA Honor Society and Transparent Watercolor Society of America. Her art has been featured in numerous magazines, and she has conducted workshops in watercolor and served as juror for exhibitions throughout the Midwest. The artist is represented by Inman’s Gallery, in Quincy, Illinois, and Gallery Uptown, in Grand Haven, Michigan.
Gallery Hours April 8-29 are Sundays, 1-3 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday 4-6 p.m., closed Saturday, April 28th for The Beaux Arts Ball.